Live Review: Furnace and The Fundamentals – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (08.07.17)

Who doesn’t love a cover song? I have a theory that in any festival set, if a band (irrespective of their size or street cred) covers a classic song, the crowd will froth on it and that will be the biggest moment of the set. Playing their own headlining show at the Enmore Theatre, Furnace and The Fundamentals took my theory, ran with it, and turned in what was one of the most fun sets you’ll ever see.

Acting as main support for the night were Discovery: Daft Punk DJs, a tribute as such, to the breakthrough and classic Daft Punk album. With the crowd in a happy enough mood to accommodate two guys dressed in Daft Punk suits and helmets, their short set was all but a time-filler for the main show.

When I was offered the chance to cover Furnace & The Fundamentals’ show, my initial thoughts were that they were being quite optimistic about playing the Enmore Theatre. For many Australian bands, the Enmore Theatre is a goal and dream they set out to achieve. Not only for its rich history, but if you’re selling out a 1600 capacity room, you’re definitely doing things right. And I mean come on, Furnace and The Fundamentals are a covers band, surely they couldn’t fill the Enmore? As I sit here eating my own words, I’m here to let you know that the show Furnace and The Fundamentals put on is one of the most outrageous, yet accomplished things you’ll witness from a band.

First things first. Any band that enters to Tina Turner’s “The Best” and then open with a mash up of Destiny Child’s “Bootylicious” and Ricky Martin’s “Cup Of Life (Ole Ole Ole)” has my tick of approval. Quickly running into the best wedding reception song of all time (Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September”), the crowd was already in the mood to party.

With an early entry from Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out”, the thumping guitar riff was the first indicator that the band knew how to absolutely crush a cover. Taking the time to introduce all six band members to the crowd, front man Furnace’s shirt was already drenched in sweat. Thinking he’d surely have to change out of it at some point, to his credit (and all band members credits) they pushed on through out their near two hour set without missing a beat. And when I say ‘without missing a beat’, that’s to be taken in a literal sense. They played non-stop for the entirety of the set. In close to 150 shows I’ve seen live, never before have I seen an act play for so long, with so much energy, and not miss a step. It’s a credit to the band for how accomplished a show they’ve put together.

With a set including covers from bands like The Killers, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Daft Punk, Wheatus, Simon & Garfunkel, Rage Against The Machine, Adele, The Sugarhill Gang, KISS, and Whitney Houston, you know these guys have mastered their setlist and know what crowds are going to lose their shit over.
With a mid-set-crowd-assisted magic carpet ride whilst singing the Disney classic “A Whole New World”, the mixed and varied crowd continued to grow off the energy the band were playing with on stage.

Absolutely crushing a medley of songs including “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “I’ll Be There For You”, “ Hey Ya”, “Lonely Boy” and “Come On Eileen”, it was as if the band had stolen my old iPod and just went to the most played playlist. This section of the night was the definite highlight (amongst many).

Exiting from an adaptation of not the greatest song in the world in Tenacious D’s “Tribute”, the set entered its closing stages, as The Darkness’ “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”, everyone’s best mate Daryl Braithwaite’s “The Horses” and Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” made appearances.

Thanking the crowd for their best show ever, the band closed the main set on Johnny O’Keefe’s “Shout” before returning for quite possibly the most covered song of all time: Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. As I slowly came to grips with what I’d just witnessed, I genuinely had an “I’ll never see something like that again” thought. Furnace and The Fundamentals know how to party; that’s for sure.

Photo by Mikki Gomez.